NetCut is a network monitoring tool that protects against so called “spoofing” attacks. Such attacks, also referenced as ARP cache poisoning, ARP poison routing (ARP = address resolution protocol), target LAN so that to gain access to IP addresses of computers within a network. As a result, the attacker could potentially intercept all data that goes through an IP address. Often such attacks facilitate other bigger attacks, DDoS for example. This is a threat of grave concern these days, this is very evident.
What is NetCut?
NetCut is a type of software designed to protect networks from such vulnerability. It is not the only program in network security software, but it is one of the most popular, therefore this review was in order. We can say that NetCut (v.3.0.58, as of August 2019) is light and easy. It scans a network and displays all devices in it. But most importantly, it detects spoofing attacks and attempts. It can work constantly in the background. You can launch scanning of a PC or a network with the app. Other options with NetCut include blocking Internet access for specific devices, viewing reports and history, detecting unknown (guest) users.
Many security enthusiasts start to googling “NetCut free download” right away. So to clarify the NetCut pricing matter, the good news is that there is a free version. For Pro version there are two options: monthly subscription - costing just $1 per month, as annual subscription - costing $9,99 per year.
Installation & Interface
Go to arcai.com, there you will see 2 versions for PC - Netcut Defender as a desktop app, and Netcut v3.5, the newest version. The latter one has a more user-friendly web interface. Select which one you wish, download and install it. Note: do not forget to check the “Automatically start the WinPcap driver at boot time” option.
Run the program - this will open a page in your web browser. All the elements and the UI is simple and straightforward. There no themes or interface language to select - just dark-grey color and English. You will see several tabs: Users, Options, Pro, Records, Log. Below, a green or red status button indicates whether Netcut is On or Off at the moment.
Lock/Unlock Wi-Fi is the first and essential feature in the Users tab. If On, no new users will be able to join the computer network, and won’t have Internet access. Also, note that this function is available in Pro version only. Next to it, you will see icons/buttons for Network re-scan, Block/Unblock all devices, Search, Schedule offline.
In the Users tab there are 3 columns: blocked (blacklist), other, trusted (whitelist). Admins are able to move items between columns, taking action by drag-and-drop. With scheduler admin could also set time period for users’ blocking, as well as turn on timer (in minutes). If you see the “Attacker” status for any IP or device in the Other column, certainly you would want to move it to the left column, actually blocking that IP.
Protect status “Yes” means a computer has NetCut installed and Defender enabled. This would be positive, of course. “Options” tab is basically the settings - and all except one, “Cut affect gateway and user”, are available when Pro is purchased. The most useful setting is "Fake MAC address", which allows random changes of the MAC address. The tab “Pro” is obviously for users to buy the subscription. There are 2 ways to sign up: email and Google account, and there are technical issues with email channel as it seems (no message with account activation link in the inbox).
In “Record” tab you will be able to view visitors to your network. Free version though only shows “guest” users with no details, while the Pro version will display lots of data: IP, time in and out, device name, location. Additionally, you’ll be able to lock such devices off.
- NetCut Defender
Protects a PC/laptop/device, works silently in the background. When turned off, users will only be able to scan the network, see hosts info - and no ongoing protection, all in all.
- Lock/Unlock wifi
Allows to block the access to new users. This means any users that would have joined the network after it was enabled, would be automatically blocked. To let anyone in, you would have to turn off the locker temporarily.
- Schedule offline
Allows to schedule network blocking, with only 2 options: a daily period (start time and end time) and a timer (a given time before a user is blocked).
- Fake MAC address
Lets users change the MAC address of the network, both manually or automatically (random change). This is a great extra security option for networks under attack.
- List of visitors (Records)
Collects information about all “visits”. It works even when NetCut is turned off but Defender is enabled. Thus, at the next launch one may see visitors. Data includes times, device name, brand, MAC address.
- Simple interface
A big advantage, as well as overall simplicity with drag-n-drop workflow. For example, to block an IP address, you would just move it to the block list. On the other hand, a light-colored them alternative would be nice to have too.
- Fast/slow scan mode
Fast for ultimate scan speed, or Slow for crowded networks with active data traffic.
How to use NetCut
Here’s a brief tip on how to use Netcut step by step:
- Launch the program
- Enable Defender
- Scan the network
- Find a host with status “Attacker: Yes” / or the one you want to block
- Move that host to the blacklist (left column)
- Leave Defender active, close NetCut
NetCut for Android
NetCut Pro for Android devices , 4.1 to 8.1, is available to download from Arcai website. It incorporates speed control, user report, one-click “block all”, IP search, slow and fast scan modes, random fake MAC address. Note: it requires Root Android to run on a phone/tablet/device.
Pros & Cons
- Easy to use, fast
- Low system requirements
- Fake MAC address
- 2 scan modes
- Visitor information
- Interface is out of date
- Not changing IP when switching networks
- Account activation issues
- No auto scan in the users tab
- Ads in Free version
If considering NetCut alternatives with similar purpose or in similar “network security” category, we recommend to check the following software:
- ESET Smart Security
- ARP Guard
- Selfish Net
- Outpost Firewall Pro